In the very beginning I was a book witch
When I first started on my witchcraft journey it was a book that prompted me to jump in head first. A random find in a charity shop and in fact it was a book about the history of witchcraft – it cost me 50p. I read it cover to cover and realised I felt that I had ‘come home’.
The book prompted me to investigate further but at the time the only real source of information was from books. I didn’t know anyone else that followed the pagan pathway and I had no idea how to find anyone that did.
So, I hit the books, the few that were available were in the main part Wiccan which worked for me to start with and I read all that I could get my hands on. Some of them had exercises and practicums that I worked through as well.
The internet strikes
Eventually the internet caught on and I found an online ‘school of Wicca’ and worked through my first degree but the set up didn’t really work for me so I continued to look. Further investigation led me to another online school, still Wiccan but one that worked better for me. And I eventually completed my first and second degree and most of my third.
The online community led me to connect with other like-minded people and the discovery that quite a few of us where in the same physical locality so we started to meet up. It was a revelation!
I was ‘out there’ really living my path. It was all fine and good casting circles in my living room (albeit that the first few times I felt like a complete idiot waving a wand around behind the sofa…) but to be outside and with others taking part in rituals and moots was brilliant.
Finally I completed my Wiccan third degree ‘offline’ and was very honoured to be presented with the title High Priestess. But to be honest my journey had already wandered off in different directions and I delved into all sorts of different pathways.
Eventually landing as a Kitchen/Hedge Witch but I do still dip into other areas when I feel guided to, then I take the bits that work for me and add them to my own practices.
For the first few years of my learning I was a ‘book witch’ that evolved into my being an ‘electronic witch’ but that led me to the great big ole outside world and for that I am very thankful.
Mix it all up – sometimes I learn from books, other times I learn from internet research or internet based courses but I also learn from being in ritual or at workshops and moots with other people. Each variation has its own benefits.
Now I also now co-run my own online school of witchcraft and it has allowed me to meet and connect with some very lovely people right across the globe – an experience I would have missed without the internet.
I don’t believe there is any short cut to experience and I don’t think you can become a witch (or a druid or whatever) from reading just one book or attending one ritual but all my experiences whether from books, online or outside have taught me different things.
If I had stuck with purely books then I would have learnt a great deal and continued to practice on my own and created an individual and unique pathway. If I had just stuck with being an electronic witch then my journey would have been slightly different but interesting and insightful none the less. And if I had learnt purely face to face with a coven/elder then my journey would have been different again.
Not everyone has the opportunity to be a part of a coven and in fact some people don’t want to be, sometimes it just isn’t practical either. Learning from books or online has the advantage that you can learn in your own time and at your own pace. It also means you can study ‘in the closet’ if you need to or because you just cannot physically get out and about.
Each of us is individual and our journeys will be unique. If you prefer to learn from books do it. If you like to learn online do it. If you can and want to learn face to face with others do it. No one way is better than the other, no one way is right or wrong. My personal advice would be to work with whatever opportunities that present themselves, give it a go – you might prefer it you might not, but unless you try you won’t know.
It is your journey, make it your own.